Friday, October 31, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Death in Daytime by Eileen Davidson

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Death in Daytime by Eileen Davidson. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Death in Daytime by Eileen Davidson

Death in Daytime by
A Soap Opera Mystery with Alexis Peterson

Signet (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-451-22564-3 (0451225643)
ISBN-13: 978-0-451-22564-1 (9780451225641)
Publication Date: October 2008
List Price: $7.99

Review: Eileen Davidson, herself a star of daytime drama (most recently playing the role of Ashley Abbott on The Young and the Restless), sets her debut mystery in the world she knows best, introducing soap opera actress and amateur sleuth Alexis Peterson in Death in Daytime.

Alexis has been a regular member of the cast of The Yearning Tide for over 20 years. To add new life to the show, the producers hire a seasoned head writer, one Marcy Blanchard. Alexis immediately fears she may be written out of the updated soap opera plot. Marcy certainly seems to be trying to put Alexis in a bad light in the eyes of the producers, sending her the wrong script for the day's filming, or not sending one at all. When Alexis, in a fit of anger, faces off with Marcy, it's heard by everyone on the set. A day or so later, Alexis goes to Marcy’s office to try to apologize and maybe clear the air, but instead finds Marcy dead. She had been bludgeoned with her Emmy and shoved under her desk. The authorities put Alexis at the head of their list as prime suspect because when they were questioned, most of the cast told the police about the altercation between Alexis and Marcy. They, too, did not doubt Alexis’ guilt. Alexis decides to take on a little amateur detective work of her own to prove her innocence. Who would want to kill Marcy, and why? Against the wishes of her mother and the advice of her lover, she begins to go in search of a killer. She questions other cast members who she knows, or at least has heard, to have been at odds with Marcy, only to have them say that, although they are glad Marcy is dead, they did not kill her. And they resent Alexis for trying to cast doubt on their own innocence. But she learns of greed among the writers, unrest among the actors, even discontent with the make-up artists. Poor Marcy, it seems, was hated by everyone. Now Marcy's killer is on a mission to murder Alexis and to make it look like suicide, giving the police the ultimate performance of a guilty person.

Death in Daytime is a breezy read and, in the context of a typical soap opera, seems at times to be all too believable. The author clearly knows her milieu and brings her characters and setting to life. There are a lot of natural suspects together with a good amount of misdirection, the result being a credible whodunit. Other elements that add to the fun are the activities of what happens behind-the-scenes of a soap opera and the interpersonal relationships Alexis has with her mother, friends, and co-workers.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Death in Daytime and to Penguin Group for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Death in Daytime from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): She’s bold. She’s beautiful. And she’s about to go to jail for murder ...

Soap opera actress Alexis Peterson has starred in the nation’s top soap opera for almost 20 years. But her career takes a nose-dive when Marcy Blanchard is hired as the head writer. Little did Alexis realize that Marcy’s been holding a grudge all these years—and is ready to take her revenge.

So when Marcy turns up dead, bludgeoned to death with her Emmy, no one is surprised that Alexis is the prime suspect. No one except Alexis, that is, who knows she has to take matters into her own hands if she wants to avoid being arrested for a crime she didn’t commit—and becoming the real killer’s next victim ...

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Games of Mystery: Between the Worlds, New at PlayFirst Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed games, parties, and vacations, has updated its website to include a new game of mystery released this past week, available to download and play from PlayFirst Games.

Between the Worlds

A quiet American city has been struck by an inexplicable crime wave in Between the Worlds. As a seasoned detective, you are the city's last hope. Gather clues as you seek objects hidden amidst unexplored crime scenes, and decipher puzzles that lead ever closer to the criminal mastermind. The city is counting on you to scour each clue-filled alley and cave, and decode the mysteries within. The game includes 12 challenging mini-games, 18 unique crime scenes, and an original story complete with time travel.

Available to purchase for as low as $9.95 with the PlayPass program. A trial version is available to download for a 60 minutes of play (Windows PC, 60.4 MB).

Other popular games on our page include both Mystery PI games, Mystery P.I.: The Vegas Heist and Mystery P.I.: The Lottery Ticket, James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet, and Private Eye.

Visit for all types of mysterious fun!

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First Clues Review: Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is delighted to introduce a new feature for our website, book reviews written by students. These students offer their unique perspective on the book in their review and provide a valuable resource to parents looking for new mystery adventures for their kids to read.

Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz

Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz

Penguin Young Adult (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-14-240612-0 (0142406120)
ISBN-13: 978-0-14-240612-0 (9780142406120)
Publication Date: February 2006
List Price: $7.99

Review written by John, Age 11, Grade 6. Date of review: October 2008.

Review: This is a review of Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz. Point Blank is the second in the Alex Rider series.

Alex Rider first appeared in the novel and movie Stormbreaker. Alex’s parents died when he was young and his uncle Ian died when he was 14. Ian was a spy for M16, British intelligence. Alex did not learn of this until after Ian’s death. Alex, with a little training, became the world’s first teenage spy and went on a mission to save the world. Point Blank begins weeks later, when he returns to school. Alex has a drug dealer at his school. In an attempt to bust the dealer, Alex ends up back in the hands of M16. He is then sent to investigate a strange finishing school. He goes in under the name of Alex Friend, son of a millionaire. He soon realizes that it is no ordinary finishing school. Not only is it located on top of a mountain peak, but only the rich and famous’ kids can enter. Another strange thing is that all of the students are 14 years old. Then, strangest of all, the schoolmaster, Dr. Grief (great name isn’t it?) with the assistance of the assistant school leader, Mrs. Stellenbosch (doesn’t she have the best name ever too?) cloned Grief several times. At the time of the book, all those clones were 14 years old. A few weeks after the arrival of a student, an evil, 14 year old clone is genetically altered to look exactly like the student. This identical Grief clone takes their place. The originals are then locked up in the basement. By the time Alex figures this out, he is the only person in the building that is not Dr. Grief, a Dr. Grief clone or one of the other school staff. Soon Alex’s real identity is discovered and he is locked up. The rest, you’ll have to find out for yourself.

The book has fast action and some realistic parts. These include his escape and what happens while he learns to imitate a criminal kid who happens to be the son of a millionaire. Against those, however there is a wealth of bad parts. One is the somewhat obvious solution. The other is that there are several unrealistic parts. This includes the part where Dr. Grief plans to have Alex dissected, live, with no pain depressors (classic part of the evil villains plan, he has the good guy at a point where he could just shoot him, but, he locks him up and waits assuming everything goes fine and the good guy dies, it never works). Also, the whole cloning thing is really fake. I don’t like that apparently Dr. Grief had cloned himself 6 years before the first publicly announced cloning (Dolly the sheep). In addition, there is a scene where Alex fights Mrs. Stellenbosch, the second in command, at point blank. In the battle, Alex grabs a table, tips it over, and swings around to hit her square in the back of the head. The book even states, “The blow would have knocked anyone else out, but Mrs. Stellenbosch barely faltered”, really unrealistic. Finally, is how Dr. Grief is killed. I shouldn’t tell you how; you’ll have to read the book. Even so, I think many people will like the teenage almost James Bond kind of character and will be on the edges of their seats. The end will keep them there until the next book. Even though I found there to be more criticisable things than not, I think the book overall is good. I liked this book and have read six other books in the series. I would recommend Alex Rider to anyone who likes fast action books with sometimes-unforeseen endings.

Alex Rider books have won the Booktrust Teenage Prize.

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Point Blank from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

is pleased to provide information on nearly 100 mystery series for children and young adults. Each series is conveniently listed under three different age categories (New Sleuth, ages 4 to 7; Future Sleuth, aged 7 to 10; and Sleuth in Training, ages 10 and older). If you have a favorite mystery series you'd like to see added to our site, please contact us.

All student book reviews are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner, print or electronic, without the express written consent of the copyright owner. Reviews are published here with permission of the copyright owner.

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Mysteries on DVD: Trailer for Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

Mysteries on DVD

In case you missed it, the first official trailer for the upcoming movie based on 's Angels & Demons, the book that preceded , was released yesterday. The film is expected to be released in May, 2009.

The team behind the film production of The Da Vinci Code returns for the highly anticipated Angels & Demons. Tom Hanks reprises his role as Harvard religious expert Robert Langdon, who once again finds that forces with ancient roots are willing to stop at nothing, even murder, to advance their goals. Ron Howard again directs the film, which is produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, and John Calley. The screenplay is by Akiva Goldsman and David Koepp. More information can be found at the film's official website, AngelsAndDemons.com.

Please visit , your source for mystery books that have been adapted into movies and available on DVD.

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NPR Remembers Tony Hillerman

NPR published two audio programs this week in remembrance of who died October 26th at the age of 83. Hillerman was the author of 18 mysteries featuring Navajo tribal police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee

Fellow writer , author of the Kevin Kerney mystery series which is also set in the Southwest, knew Hillerman for over 40 years and is featured on one of the audio programs. "[Hillerman] certainly had a wonderful way of developing characters and a great straightforward way of plotting a story that was incredibly entertaining," says McGarrity. "He took the mystery genre and expanded it tenfold by bringing in the elements of the Navajo country and the Navajo people, and the cultural clashes that existed between that world and the world of the white man, and at times even between the various different elements of the Navajo communities themselves."

The second audio program features an excerpt of an interview with Hillerman on NPR's All Things Considered originally broadcast in 1988.

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Mystery Bestsellers for October 31, 2008

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending October 31, 2008 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Though the top two mysteries from last week retain their same positions this week, there was a major reshuffling of the titles in the other spots. The Brass Verdict, the 14th mystery in the Harry Bosch series by remains atop the list for a second week.

Murder Inside the Beltway by Margaret Truman

New this week and debuting in the 13th position is the 24th, and presumed last, mystery in the Capital Crimes series by the late , Murder Inside the Beltway. Rosalie Curzon, a , call girl, is found bludgeoned to death in her Adams-Morgan apartment. Investigating the grisly homicide are Walt Hatcher, a tough, sour, intolerant twenty-three-year veteran of the D.C. police department; Detective Mary Hall, who, unhappy with the way women are treated on the force, is conflicted about her career; and rookie cop Matthew Jackson, an introspective young man and the product of a mixed-race marriage, whom Hatcher looks down on. The murder scene is in a disturbing state of disarray, suggesting that Rosalie had fought to the bitter end. Then Hall discovers a video camera nestled high on a bookshelf. Had the victim taped some of her clients during their sexual liaisons? As the investigation proceeds, so does business inside the Beltway. President Burton Pyle is running for reelection. His opponent, consummate politician Robert Colgate, is expected to easily defeat Pyle, whose administration has been rife with corruption and scandal. Colgate, though, is not without cracks in his slick exterior. Rumors swirl about his failing marriage and various dalliances. Moreover, there’s no love lost between the two candidates: The campaign has morphed into one of the most distasteful and nasty in memory. Then, on a bright Saturday afternoon on the Washington Mall, the daughter of Colgate’s closest friend is kidnapped. The abduction rocks the nation’s capital, but no one is prepared for the bombshell about to hit the city, an explosive development that erupts when Detectives Hall and Jackson uncover a shocking connection between the kidnapping and the Curzon case–and a killer whom no one will see coming.

On our bestseller page, we've added an icon next to every title that is available for immediate download onto the Amazon Kindle. To learn about this wireless reading device, visit the Amazon Kindle page for more information.

The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

The Brass Verdict by Michael ConnellyThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonBones by Jonathan KellermanRough Weather by Robert B. Parker

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Hardcover Mysteries for November 2008

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has updated its list of with books scheduled for publication in November 2008.

As we did last month, we're listing those authors with returning series characters, new series characters, and non-series or stand-alone mysteries in separate sections. All titles are available on our page. We're also using the "carousel" widget by Amazon.com to display a random selection of titles; refreshing this page will change the selection displayed.

Authors with mysteries having returning series characters (in parentheses) this month:

Cherry Adair (T-FLAC), Lin Anderson (Rhona MacLeod), David Baldacci (Camel Club), Mignon F. Ballard (Augusta Goodnight), Rita Mae Brown (Mrs. Murphy), Henry Chang (Jack Yu), James Church (Inspector O), Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark (Christmas Holiday), Charles Cumming (Alec Milius), Elizabeth Darrell (Max Rydal), David Stuart Davies (Johnny One Eye), Eric Jerome Dickey (The Gideon Trilogy), James D. Doss (Charlie Moon), Margaret Duffy (Patrick Gillard and Ingrid Langley), Chris Ewan (Charlie Howard, Good Thief's Guide), Elena Forbes (Mark Tartaglia), Andrew M. Greeley (Father Blackie Ryan), C. S. Harris (Sebastian St. Cyr), Ellen Hart (Jane Lawless), Steven F. Havill (Posadas County), Reginald Hill (Dalziel and Pascoe), P. D. James (Adam Dalgliesh), Mari Jungstedt (Anders Knutas), John Lawton (Frederick Troy), Laura Lippman (Tess Monaghan), Peter May (Enzo Macleod), Penny Mickelbury (Phil Rodriguez), Bob Morris (Zack Chasteen), James Patterson (Alex Cross), Jo-Ann Power (Me and Mr. Jones), Ann Purser (Lois Meade), Phil Rickman (Merrily Watkins), Boris Riskin (Jake Wanderman), J. D. Robb (In Death), John B. Robinson (Lonny Cushman), Laura Joh Rowland (Sano Ichiro), Harry Shannon (Mick Callahan), Marcia Talley (Hannah Ives), Ronald Tierney (Deets Shanahan), and Stella Whitelaw (Casey Jones).

Authors with mysteries introducing new series characters (in parentheses) this month:

Robin Burcell (Sydney Fitzpatrick), J M Gregson (Lambert and Hook), Carolyn Hart (Bailey Ruth Raeburn), Michael A. Black and Julie Hyzy (Ron Shade / Alex St. James; not strictly a new series but the first with both characters featured), A. J. Tata ("Threat"), and Livia J. Washburn (Delilah Dickenson).

Authors with non-series or stand-alone mysteries this month:

Jeffrey Ashford, Andrew Beahrs, Bill Cameron, Jeffery Deaver, Jonathon Scott Fuqua, John Gardner, Gerald Hammond, P. F. Kluge, Dean Koontz, D. L. Nelson, Gary Newman, Martha Powers, Sam Reaves, M. J. Rose, Robert Underhill, and Mark Waid.

For more information on any of these titles, please visit the page on our website. If you're interested in new paperbacks, visit where you can discover a library of new mysteries.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Mystery Savings: $3 Off on $30 or more at Alibris.com

Mystery Savings: Discounted Products and Services on Books, Movies, and more!

Mystery Savings periodically provides our readers with current promotions that offer discounts or other incentives for purchasing mystery-themed products and services products through our partner websites. Below is a special offer recently received by us that we're pleased to pass on at this time.

Use coupon code REDLEAF on checkout at Alibris to save $3 on $30 or more of books, music, and movies at Alibris.com. This coupon expires November 20, 2008. [MBN note: For even more savings, search for books that are eligible for free shippping. When Alibris is listed as a book's seller, it ships from their warehouse and is eligible for free shipping to U.S. addresses. Click on the Free Shipping link on the left side of the page to browse for books that qualify.]

Alibris 190x112

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Mysteries on DVD Review: The Hollywood Mom's Mystery

Mysteries on DVD: Mystery Books that have been Adapted into Screenplays and Made into Movies

We're still in the process of setting up a new website with reviews of mystery TV shows and movies which may (or may not) have a separate blog. In the meantime, we'll continue to post our television and film reviews here on and advise you of when the new site is up.

Film: . Original release date: 08/04/2004 (a Hallmark made-for-television movie); DVD release date: 02/07/2006.

The Hollywood Mom's Mystery

Lucy Freers (Justine Bateman), Kit Freers (Andrew McCarthy), Theresa Shoe (Elizabeth Peña), Woody Prentice (George Hamilton), Francine Palumbo (Laura Johnson), Sandy Palumbo (Martin Kove), Justin Caffrey (David Gale). Directed by David S. Cass, Sr. Screenplay adapted from the novel The Dead Hollywood Moms Society by .

It's a great mystery to me (pun absolutely intended) how movie producers select one book over another to adapt into a screenplay. For every Mystic River chosen there's The Dead Hollywood Moms Society. One becomes an Academy Award Winning Best Picture, the other becomes The Hollywood Mom's Mystery. Still, I'm always on the lookout for movies made from mysteries so when I was perusing the mystery category of Netflix, I found The Hollywood Mom's Mystery and immediately ordered it.

The Hollywood Mom's Mystery

Justine Bateman stars as children's book author and illustrator Lucy Freers who lives a fairly quiet life as a wife of a producer and mother of a tween-age daughter. She also acts as narrator for the movie. The story opens inauspiciously with a pointless scene of the Freers putting their luxurious home on the market, a home it must be noted that apparently has no garage as Lucy always parks her SUV right outside the front door. She then recounts a recent visit to a baby shower at a neighbor's house, a way of introducing the other Hollywood moms to the viewer. They're self-centered, shallow, pretentious, insincere, and a half-dozen other stereotypical adjectives. Oh, and one is married to TV miniseries superstar Woody Prentice (played by the ageless, ever tan George Hamilton).

Lucy (as narrator) takes us back to the present when she returns home after driving her daughter to school to find Julia, the wife of Woody Prentice, floating in her pool, very dead. Not by drowning, but from strangulation. Very mysterious. Detective Theresa Shoe (Elizabeth Peña) is assigned to the case, immediately suspecting Lucy's husband but not enough to keep him in town. He leaves to a location shoot and is pretty much not seen again.

The Hollywood Mom's Mystery

As is typical with most amateur sleuth mysteries, Lucy doesn't think the police are doing enough to clear her husband so decides to take matters into her own hands. She not so quietly begins to interrogate the other Hollywood moms and discovers most have secrets. A common thread to many of these secrets is a Mister X, someone who may have been involved in the accidental death of a passenger in the car he was driving.

Lucy's questions make her a target and she's attacked twice. Detective Shoe subsequently takes Lucy under her wing, though she makes it clear that Lucy should (... wait for it ...) leave detecting to the professionals. When Lucy finds the cell phone of the dead woman hidden in the shrubs, she learns who Julia last spoke to and, ignoring the sage advice of Detective Shoe, confronts the caller alone. A bit of standard mystery plot misdirection follows with Lucy ending up facing the real killer and fearing for her life.

Hollywood Mom's Mystery

Fans of mystery books, or movies made from them, will not be surprised by the plot in The Hollywood Mom's Mystery. It's standard stuff. And there's nothing wrong with that if there are compensating values. The real problem here is the flat acting by virtually all, even the usually reliable Elizabeth Peña. Justine Bateman in particular seems to have phoned in her performance. Her narration is fine, but on screen she mumbles her lines to the point of incoherency. The visuals, however, are terrific, with gorgeous homes and vistas and, for the most part, equally gorgeous people. And, to be fair, this isn't intended to be serious drama and there are a few light, comedic, even tongue-in-cheek moments. Not enough to completely recommend the movie, but it is good escapist fare.

The DVD of The Hollywood Mom's Mystery is available to purchase from Mysteries on DVD, your source for movies that have been adapted from mystery books.

Reviewed on October 30, 2008 by Mr. E., television and movie critic for Mystery Books News.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Omnimystery — All Rights Reserved.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Folly du Jour by Barbara Cleverly

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Folly du Jour by Barbara Cleverly. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Folly du Jour by Barbara Cleverly

Folly du Jour by
A Joe Sandilands Mystery

Soho Constable (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-56947-513-X (156947513X)
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-513-3 (9781569475133)
Publication Date: August 2008
List Price: $24.95

Review: In May 1927 Scotland Yard commander Joe Sandilands investigates a murder of which his former mentor is accused of the crime in Folly du Jour, the seventh mystery in this series by Barbara Cleverly.

Sir George Jardine, a former British diplomat based in Parris, is attending a performance at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees after receiving a mysterious letter with a entry ticket, signed just John. While seated in one of the best box seats, he sees a former colleague and nemesis on the opposite side of the theatre, one Lt. Colonel, now Sir Stanley Somerton. Nothing to do now as the performance is just starting, and a mesmerizing one it is. At its end, George heads over to greet Somerton only to find him dead, his throat slashed. He's immediately arrested for the murder. Joe Sandilands, coincidentally in Paris to attend an Interpol conference, is asked to get involved and intervenes on George's behalf. He joins up with a French counterpart, Inspector Jean-Philippe Bonnefoye, who's been investigating a multi-year series of bizarre, unsolved murders. Though there doesn't seem to be a connection, the coroner isn't so sure. What is certain is the key to solving Somerton's murder depends on finding out why someone may have wanted him dead.

Folly du Jour is, for the most part, a delightful mystery. The well drawn characters and atmospheric setting are spot on. The disparate elements of the book, including an intriguing though not obviously relevant (at least initially) prologue, come together much as a intricate play in three acts does: a strong opening to set the foundation for the story, a middle act that moves the plot along, and a conclusion that resolves the mystery. Though each component is generally well executed, the third and final act is probably the least enjoyable primarily because it is overly and unnecessarily complicated. It's almost as if the author realized a rather predictable and simple resolution was in the offing, not that there's anything wrong with that, especially if it's as elegantly presented as the rest of the book. Instead she makes an abrupt and unexpected departure crafting a convoluted and ultimately less satisfying alternate ending. Still, the route taken was an enjoyable one and definitely worthy of a reader's consideration.

Special thanks to Soho Press for providing a copy of Folly du Jour for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Folly du Jour from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): The Folies Bergere, Paris, December 1926. Joe Sandilands hurries to the assistance of an old friend who has been arrested for murder. In a cell at the Quai des Orfevres he meets with Sir George Jardine, still in the evening dress stained with the blood of the dead man. The only other witness, a blonde who was sharing the victim’s box, has vanished. Joe receives assistance from an entirely unexpected quarter—Francine, a young usherette, clawing her way into the world of the Paris Music Hall. It is she who becomes Joe’s guide through this treacherous place where Joe is sure the killer is lurking.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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First Clues Review: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is delighted to introduce a new feature for our website, book reviews written by students. These students offer their unique perspective on the book in their review and provide a valuable resource to parents looking for new mystery adventures for their kids to read.

The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

Scholastic (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-545-06039-7 (0545060397)
ISBN-13: 978-0-545-06039-4 (9780545060397)
Publication Date: September 2008
List Price: $12.99

Review written by Brittany, Age 11, Grade 6. Date of review: October 2008.

Review: Dan Cahill and his sister Amy live with their great Aunt Beatrice in a tiny apartment. Their grandmother, Grace, recently passed away. Amy and Dan are hoping that they will inherit the mansion and fortune. But, at the funeral, people, and only certain people, have tickets in their program, enabling them to inherit part of Grace’s fortune. Amy and Dan are overjoyed when they get tickets. They aren’t so happy when the Holts, Kabras, and their celebrity cousin, Jonah Wizard, also get tickets. But, there is a twist. Mr. McIntyre tells the inheritors that you can either take the money, one million dollars, or you can get a clue to a very dangerous quest involving all 4 branches of the Cahill family: Lucian, Tomas, Janus, and Ekaterina.

The 39 Clues Maze of Bones is very much like The Amazing Race, just much more dangerous. Also, it is somewhat humorous. It resembles The Amazing Race because the main characters get to travel around the world, solving clues and facing dangers. It is a much more dangerous version of The Amazing Race because there is poison, dart guns, and concussive bombs! It is a quest that means life or death for the family. It is very exciting, and it keeps you on pins and needles. If you have plans for putting this book down, you may as well cancel those plans because you just can’t find enough will to. Even if you had all of the will power in the world, you wouldn’t have enough!

The plot of the book is very well thought out, and it is a book that you can read if you are in 3rd grade or if you are a young adult looking for an adventurous read. Also, if you want a quick read that is really exciting and fun, I recommend this amazingly fantastic book. You won’t be disappointed at all! All in all, I give this book 2 thumbs up! If I could, I would give it 10,000 thumbs up, but I don’t have that many thumbs.

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing The Maze of Bones from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

is pleased to provide information on nearly 100 mystery series for children and young adults. Each series is conveniently listed under three different age categories (New Sleuth, ages 4 to 7; Future Sleuth, aged 7 to 10; and Sleuth in Training, ages 10 and older). If you have a favorite mystery series you'd like to see added to our site, please contact us.

All student book reviews are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner, print or electronic, without the express written consent of the copyright owner. Reviews are published here with permission of the copyright owner.

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Mystery Savings: Leather-Bound Collector's Editions at The Easton Press

Mystery Savings: Discounted Products and Services on Books, Movies, and more!

Mystery Savings periodically provides our readers with current promotions that offer discounts or other incentives for purchasing mystery-themed products and services products through our partner websites. Below is a special offer recently received by us that we're pleased to pass on at this time.

We are pleased to introduce The Easton Press to our readers. The Easton Press is a world-leader in the design and development of fine leather-bound books, stamped on the spine with 22kt gold. For nearly three decades, they have been serving the needs of collectors to acquire luxurious volumes of lasting meaning, beauty and importance. They take great pride and pleasure in presenting collectors and enthusiasts with a wide variety of heirloom editions, made to exacting standards and meant to be cherished for generations of readers.

We perused The Easton Press website and found several specific items of interest to mystery readers. The mystery category includes a magnificent leather-bound set of Hercule Poirot novels by Agatha Christie. Each volume features a brilliantly restored frontispiece of the original first-edition UK dust jacket art. There's also a set of three Raymond Chandler classic detective fiction books. Recently added is an edition of James Lee Burke's The Tin Roof Blowdown, signed by the author. Other interesting categories include the First Edition Library in which every volume is identical to the original edition, down to the first critics' comments printed on the jacket flap, or the Signed First Editions featuring personally signed, numbered, leather-bound first editions of major works by celebrated authors.

We're sure you'll find many books to cherish at The Easton Press. These books or collections also make fine gifts.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mystery Author Elaine Flinn Dies

Mystery author died this past weekend of complications due to cancer at her home in Eugene, Oregon.

Flinn was the author of four mysteries featuring antiques dealer Molly Doyle set in Carmel, California, her own home for many years. We had the pleasure of reviewing her most recent book, , published in 2007, and found it "cleverly plotted" and "exceptionally well written."

Our sympathy goes out to Flinn's family.

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First Clues Review: The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is delighted to introduce a new feature for our website, book reviews written by students. These students offer their unique perspective on the book in their review and provide a valuable resource to parents looking for new mystery adventures for their kids to read.

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

Puffin (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-14-240933-2 (0142409332)
ISBN-13: 978-0-14-240933-6 (9780142409332)
Publication Date: November 2007
List Price: $6.99

Review written by Sammy, Age 11, Grade 6. Date of review: October 2008.

Review: The Case of the Missing Marquess is the first book of the series by Nancy Springer. Some of the characters in this book are familiar, Sherlock Holmes and his brother Mycroft Holmes. The author brings in their younger sister Enola, who is the main character, and Lord Tewksbury, who is a young runaway.

Have you ever wondered why you never see your brothers? Or on your birthday, your mom isn’t there that day? Or the next day or the next? Well that is exactly what Enola has to put up with. The character, Enola (which she painfully knows is "alone" spelled backwards), is 14 and lives in London. On her birthday her mother mysteriously disappears. Enola looks everywhere, but all she finds is her mother’s money in mysterious places using her mother’s gift. So Enola runs away from home, disguised as a widow, to search London for her mother. On the way she runs into two mean men who try to kill her and a boy her age that has also run away. The plot is mysterious, and the author was very creative about pulling characters in.

This book is very mysterious in a lot of ways. One way is that Enola has never seen her brothers which are famous detectives, Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes. The book is also surprising. One way the book is surprising is that Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes called their own mother foolish! Something also surprising is that when Enola’s mother ran away she just left a birthday gift and money for Enola, not even a “good-bye” note or anything. I also thought that the author had some very good descriptive details. The author also added the characters in the story very nicely, like Lord Tewksbury and the mean men. A weird thing about the book is that some words in the book are very hard to understand. I sometimes had to look in the dictionary. So I think this book would fit higher-level readers perfectly.

This author is creative and intelligent. She earned honors from the Mystery Writers of America. She also is a two time Edgar Award winning author. This book leaves a lot of questions hanging, but one important question is “why didn’t Enola’s mother bring Enola with her?” That question makes you want to read the second book! This book is a book any avid reader would want to read!

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing The Case of the Missing Marquess from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

is pleased to provide information on nearly 100 mystery series for children and young adults. Each series is conveniently listed under three different age categories (New Sleuth, ages 4 to 7; Future Sleuth, aged 7 to 10; and Sleuth in Training, ages 10 and older). If you have a favorite mystery series you'd like to see added to our site, please contact us.

All student book reviews are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner, print or electronic, without the express written consent of the copyright owner. Reviews are published here with permission of the copyright owner.

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Games of Mystery: Casebook, New at Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed games, parties, and vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery game from Big Fish Games released today. You can find out more about these games from our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

Casebook

Children have been kidnapped! Take on the role of a forensic investigator and find them before it's too late in Casebook. Explore stunningly realistic crime scenes and challenge your sleuthing skills with intriguing mini-games! Be part of the action as you watch the thrilling story unfold in this adventure game with photorealistic 3D crime scenes and authentic forensic mini-games. Buy Casebook today and immerse yourself in the harrowing world of forensic science!

Casebook, a Big Fish Games exclusive, may be downloaded and purchased for as little as $6.99 with the Big Fish Game Club Jumbo Pack. Due to the size of the game, a demonstration version is not available, but a short video trailer illustrates some of the basic game play.

Other popular games on our page include several Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew games, James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet, The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes, Veronica Rivers: Portals to the Unknown, and Forgotten Riddles: The Moonlight Sonatas.

Visit for all types of mysterious fun!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Mysteries on TV: The Inspector Lynley Complete Series

Mysteries on TV

, your source for the most complete selection of detective, amateur sleuth, private investigator, and suspense television mystery series now available or coming soon to DVD, is profiling one series that has a complete collecion DVD being released this week.

began with a single made-for-television movie, A Great Deliverance based on the novel by , in March 2001 and went on to become one of the best mystery series ever filmed. Despite consistently high ratings, even for repeats, this past summer the BBC caught everyone off guard and cancelled the series after 23 episodes citing the need to move on. A lame excuse at best.

The series starred Nathaniel Parker as Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sharon Small as Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers. Approximately half of the episodes, and all of the early ones, were adapted from Elizabeth George novels; the remaining were original screenplays. In addition to solving murders, the series examined the characters' personal lives and the conflicts of their social class; Lynley was an earl, a peer of the realm, and Havers came from a working class family.

If you haven't yet purchased any of the individual seasons to date, here's an opportunity to acquire the complete collection at a very attractive price. The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: The Complete Series DVD set of 12 discs contains all 23 episodes that originally aired in the UK from March 2001 through June 2008. (The episodes typically aired several months later on PBS Mystery! in the US.)

Visit the Mysteries on TV website to discover more currently available on DVD.

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Acclaimed author Tony Hillerman dies at 83

The Associated Press is reporting that mystery author died yesterday of pulmonary failure in Albuquerque. He was 83.

Although Hillerman was best known for his mysteries featuring Navajo tribal officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, he wrote books on the history and natural beauty of the Southwest. Two excellent adaptions of his mysteries were filmed as made-for-television movies and aired on PBS Mystery! a few years back: and . A third, less successful, theatrical adaption was made in 1991 based on the book The Dark Wind.

In 1991, Hillerman was honored with the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Hillerman is survived by his wife, Marie, and their six children.

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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for October 27, 2008

A new has been created by the editors of the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is now available on our website.

Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we provide you a mystery clue to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!).

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for October 27, 2008

This week's letters and mystery clue:

A E G H I L N R T

This short story by Robert Specht appeared in the anthology Quickie Thrillers (with “The”, 9 letters).

New! We now have our puzzles in PDF format for easier printing. Print this week's puzzle here.

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy the weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

   

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Casket Case by Fran Rizer

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Casket Case by Fran Rizer. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Casket Case by Fran Rizer

Casket Case by
A Callie Parish Mystery

Berkley Prime Crime (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-425-22428-7 (0425224287)
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-22428-1 (9780425224281)
Publication Date: October 2008
List Price: $7.99

Review: Callie Parrish investigates the accidental death ... or was it murder? ... of a lifelong friend in Casket Case, the third mystery in this series by Fran Rizer.

When retired pharmacist Melvin Dawkins is found dead, floating face down in the Jacuzzi he had just had built for his young bride, Callie’s brain begins to ponder the possibilities. He was elderly but in good health. Is it a coincidence that he suddenly dies soon after marrying a much younger woman? Coincidentally, another May/December couple are prominently on display in the city. A very wealthy elderly lady is introducing her very young fiancé to one and all. She has put her real estate holdings on the market so she can leave and move to Florida with her paramour to live happily ever after. Trouble arrives when someone wanting to buy a property gets argumentative and insistent that the renter of one of apartments move out that day. The renter is Jane, Callie’s best friend. The malevolent woman is later found dead at the foot of the apartment steps the next morning. Did she fall? Was she pushed? Although Callie is not directly involved with either death, she is chased and run down, nearly killed in her car by a person unknown. When she returns home from the hospital, she finds her rooms in shambles and a cryptic warning written on her mirror. Sure, Callie is a common link to both deaths, but what does she know? Could these incidents all be related?

Callie ("Calamine" to her father) is an engaging amateur sleuth in an unusual profession. She's secretary, receptionist and cosmetologist at Middleton’s Mortuary. But she has an annoying habit of stretching words like "please" into multiple syllables, and her use of Steve Martin-esque "excuse me" seems hopelessly dated. Still, the book is completely void of four-letter words, something many readers will be grateful for and other authors would do well to emulate. (The use of kindergarten swearing, though, is kind of cute.) The story is pleasantly amusing and on the whole, Casket Case is a nice way to while away that long, lazy weekend afternoon.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Casket Case and to Penguin Group for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Casket Case from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): The town’s beloved pharmacist is found floating facedown in his hot tub. Callie wonders if the kind man died of natural causes or if his seemingly distraught young wife had a hand in his death.

But this is only the first untimely demise to keep the mortuary busy. Next, the hateful real estate agent who’s been pestering Callie’s friend Jane about vacating her apartment winds up with a bashed-in skull at the foot of Jane’s steps.

Callie feels like she’s getting no where in her investigations – but someone else seems to think she knows too much. All signs point to a con game gone dangerously wrong. Now, it’s up to Callie to catch a killer before she winds up being fitted for her own casket.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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First Clues Review: Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes by Wendelin Van Draanen

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is delighted to introduce a new feature for our website, book reviews written by students. These students offer their unique perspective on the book in their review and provide a valuable resource to parents looking for new mystery adventures for their kids to read.

Sammy Keyes and The Search for Snake Eyes by Wendelin Van Draanen

Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes by Wendelin Van Draanen

Random House (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-440-41900-X (044041900X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-440-41900-6 (9780440419006)
Publication Date: April 2003
List Price: $6.50

Review written by Summer, Age 11, Grade 6. Date of review: October 2008.

Review: This book really reeled me in because it is a fun kids book. When I was reading it, I couldn’t stop. This book it more than exciting, and also has a very fun story to it. This book by Wendelin Van Draanen, is called Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes and is in Santa Martina. As a reader I really enjoy books and this one was very compelling. I thought this book was truly amazing and very well written. This book was the seventh Sammy Keyes book written in the series but they don’t really go in order.

Sammy and her friend Marissa are trying to crack the case of who Pepe’s mom is and why she was given a baby at the arcade. When trying to keep the secret that she lives with her grandmother and keeping away from gangsters, she doesn’t know what to do, but you know Sammy, she will do anything to get things right around town. As a team, Sammy and Marissa go through bad times like being spied on, and good times like finding Pepe’s moms relative, but not finding her in person. Is getting stuck in a basement your kind of happy story book ending?

Overall I enjoyed this book and want to read more of them in the series. I highly recommend this book for middle school readers of 9 year olds because, again, it is so wonderful because you can see it happening in your head and picture being one of the characters.

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

is pleased to provide information on nearly 100 mystery series for children and young adults. Each series is conveniently listed under three different age categories (New Sleuth, ages 4 to 7; Future Sleuth, aged 7 to 10; and Sleuth in Training, ages 10 and older). If you have a favorite mystery series you'd like to see added to our site, please contact us.

All student book reviews are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner, print or electronic, without the express written consent of the copyright owner. Reviews are published here with permission of the copyright owner.

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Games of Mystery: A Mysterious Weekend with Art of Murder FBI Confidential and Interpol 2 Most Wanted New at Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed games, parties, and vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of two new mystery games from Big Fish Games that were made available just this weekend. You can find out more about these games from our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

Art of Murder: FBI Confidential

It's definitely been a weekend of mystery for gamers. Yesterday Art of Murder: FBI Confidential was released. A series of strange murders in New York has drawn the attention of FBI Agent Nicole Bonnet! Scour the gritty streets of Gotham as Agent Bonnet, unraveling the clues to the uncanny crimes in this thrilling game. Follow the diabolical murderer`s trail across sprawling cityscapes, ancient ruins and shadow-hewn jungle depths! Can you piece together the sinister motive linking the crimes?

Art of Murder: FBI Confidential may be downloaded and purchased for as little as $6.99 with the Big Fish Game Club Jumbo Pack. A demonstration version is not available, but a short video trailer covers the basic play of the game.

Interpol 2: Most Wanted

And today Interpol 2: Most Wanted was released. Join the elite International Criminal Police Organization and keep the world safe from cunning criminals and dangerous terrorists! Uncover clues buried in exciting and exotic locations from around the world as you hunt down the organization`s most wanted. There will be nowhere to hind for the agents of evil with you at the vanguard of the world`s greatest international police force.

Interpol 2: Most Wanted, a Big Fish Games exclusive, may be downloaded and purchased for as little as $6.99 with the Big Fish Game Club Jumbo Pack. A demonstration version (64.82) may be downloaded and played for one hour for free.

Other popular games on our page include several Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew games, James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet, The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes, Veronica Rivers: Portals to the Unknown, and Forgotten Riddles: The Moonlight Sonatas.

Visit for all types of mysterious fun!

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

Page/Post Author: Lance Wright
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